Archive for the 'IEDs' Category



EOD Operations: Clearing Route X

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 6 months ago

G4 television recently had a documentary on Army EOD platoon 342 clearing what they termed “Route X.”  A simple Google search on clearing route X will send the reader to various online discussion forums, videos and other sources on this mission, and so it isn’t my point to recapitulate those sources here.

Neither is it my goal to disparage the hard work and bravery shown by this EOD team.  Each man is serving our country as his mission rules dictate, and as the specific military branch allows.  A hearty congratulations goes out to each member of the team who participated in the mission and returned to the FOB safely.

But there my accolades end.  This is a sad, sad tale that depicts exactly why we have lost Afghanistan.  Clearing the route (the portion of it that actually got cleared) took days, and they team went at the rate of hundreds of yards per day.  Terrain they cleared was later found to have been revisited by bomb emplacers, and so “safe” checkpoints weren’t really safe.

By the time foot patrols got to the insurgents controlling the IEDs, they were gone.  The domiciles from which they operated, vacant at the time, were simply left in place.  After the partial clearing operations, it likely took only a matter of hours for the Taliban to have completely littered the route with IEDs again.

This frustration, I admit, is perhaps attributable to the difference in the way the military branches do business.  This frustration is also captured here.

I just found this show and have only seen 3 episodes. just watched the road of blood / route X episode. I gotta say as a former Marine who has seen my share of bullets, bandaids and bad guys there has to be a better way to clear route X. Here is my observations / comments from the comfort of my reclining couch. 1) the Army tried to clear the route two times before and failed. In my opinion each time the Army pulled out it emboldened the Talibafoons. 2) the military has come a long way in technology since i was in from 87-93 but sometimes you just got to get boots on the ground and take the fight to the enemy. As i was watching the Army and Navy try to clear route X at a snails pace i remembered a route clearing device i saw used in Desert Storm. I dont know it name but it was a bunch of bangolores attached to a rocket. The rocket was shot out, the string of bangolores was detonated and voila insta-path. I get polictical correctness and trying to play nice with the locals but if route X is such a hard nut to crack then order up 20 of these bangolore snakes and clear the route one rocket at a time and march right into the taliban summer resort city at the end of the road. I am sure the goat herder who uses the road to tend his opium poppy fields will be upset we blew his road to sh&%, but oh well. 3) there is no mention of air support and/or predators providing eye in the sky support. I understand the show is to spotlight the EOD unit but i would get a warm, fuzzy feeling if i knew they had some air support. 4) at the beginning of the mission the locals seem to get the message to clear out and take cover, presumably they got the signal from the taliban. This gives the taliban the initiative to dictate when the locals should clear out. Instead when we arrive we should have our Afghan translator get on a loud speaker and tell the locals to clear out. Mentally this puts us in control and shows we dictate the next course of action. In wrapping this up i understand we dont get the full story due to TV show editing, I dont know the rules of engagement from my living room, and EOD and the Army may not want to show all there trade secrets but there has got to be a better way to clear that road and send a message that we will come knocking at the front door of the talibafoons summer resort city.

Semper Fi

The frustration is answered as well.

You are refering to APOBS.The Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS) is an explosive line charge system that allows safe breaching through complex antipersonnel obstacles, particularly fields of land mines.

They actually used this system in one episode. However, they are apparently only used when “absolutely necessary”. You would think cost would not be a prohibitive factor in such a dangerous mission. My guess is that Air is not being used because of the proximity to civilian targets. We wouldn’t want to kill an innocent in a man-dress, now would we?

There was a stark difference in how the Marines went into Sangin with its IEDs and how 342 took on Route X.  In Sangin, heavy foot patrols were involved, the people were engaged, it was essentially non-stop route clearance, there was no hesitation to use heavy ordnance or APOBS, and after clearing the route(s), the adjacent domiciles were bulldozed to the ground to prevent close quarters emplacement of IEDs.

I would also point out that when the 2/6 Marines took on Fallujah in 2007, even more heavy tactics were used.  In order to clear Route X, more troops should have been used, the route AO should have been cordoned in order to prevent the escape of insurgents, Army snipers should have been emplaced, doors should have been kicked in and homes searched, domiciles bulldozed if found to be involved in IED making or other insurgent activity, and biometric information should have been taken of all MaMs.  All of this should have been combined with census operations of the AO.

As it was, in the end, in spite of the hard work and bravery, nothing was accomplished.  But we followed the stipulations of FM 3-24 and conducted population-centric COIN.  That’s what’s really important.

Men, Not Machines, Win Wars

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 1 month ago

As one who has argued for the involvement and importance of air power and conventional artillery, I don’t want to overplay this hand.  I say what I am about to say circumspectly.  I know the limitations of what I am about to say, and I’d rather have air power on my side than just about anything else.  That is, anything except an infantryman.

So am unimpressed with this report.

US forces are massing on the Pakistan border in eastern Afghanistan amid reports of an imminent drone missile offensive against fighters from the feared Haqqani Network, a Taliban faction which operates from safe havens in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan Army sources have confirmed.

The scale of the American build-up, including helicopter gunships, heavy artillery and hundreds of American and Afghan troops, caused panic in north Waziristan where tribal militias who feared they could be targeted gathered in the capital Miranshah to coordinate their response.

Local officials in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) warned that Pakistan’s armed forces would repel any incursion across the border by American forces, but military sources in Islamabad and Afghan officials suggested the build-up was part of a coordinated operation.

It’s not a coordinated effort, “hundreds” of troops will not significantly alter the outcome of the campaign, and sending helicopters into Pakistan will get them shot down by insurgents under the current protocol.  Not that I’m opposed, mind you, to sending helicopters into Pakistan, but this isn’t some bloodless, clinical way to run a war, any more than sending helicopters with 30+ Navy SEALS around in Afghanistan to get shot down.  Frankly, I was surprised it took as long as it did before tragedy happened with our elite troopers.

This report adds some clarity.

There were no signs of troop movement on the Pakistani side, locals and officials said, suggesting no plans for a complementary offensive in the neighboring North Waziristan region. Pakistan has long resisted U.S. pressure to launch an operation against extremists that use North Waziristan as a safe haven.

A senior Pakistani military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that Pakistanis hadn’t been briefed in advance about what the U.S.-led forces were up to but were “informed upon inquiring.”

Although few clear details emerged of what the U.S. and its allies were planning, rumor of the gathering forces spread a mixture of panic and bravado in Pakistan. Many North Waziristan residents believed that a surgical U.S. airstrike was imminent, while some said they were prepared to fight U.S. troops if they crossed over.

A senior NATO official dismissed the Pakistani fears, saying that the alliance wasn’t authorized to operate outside Afghanistan and wasn’t trying to threaten Pakistan.

“No, we’re not massing on the border,” said the official, who wasn’t authorized to be quoted by name.

Pakistan isn’t acting to press the Haqqani network on their side of the border, we still respect the border and won’t cross it, and thus the Haqannis still have safe haven.

I recall this depressing report on Marine Corps operations near Sangin.

It is a conversation, the military surgeon says, that every U.S. Marine has with his corpsman, the buddy who is first to treat him if he is wounded by an insurgent’s bomb.

The Marine says, “‘If I lose my manhood, then I don’t want to live through it,’” according to Navy Lt. Richard Whitehead, surgeon for 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which is fighting in one of the most treacherous combat areas of Afghanistan.

“They ask us not to save them if their ‘junk’ gets blown off,” said Whitehead, using a slang term for genitals. “Usually, we laugh. We joke with them about it. At the same time, you know that you’re going to treat them anyway.”

This is a world of fear, resolve and dark humor that is mostly hidden from accounts of the human cost of the war in Afghanistan. American troops who patrol on foot in bomb-laced areas know they might lose a leg, or two, if they step in the wrong place. But for young men in their prime, most unmarried and without children, the prospect of losing their sexual organs seems even worse.

Whitehead said: “It’s one of the areas we can’t put a tourniquet on.”

Sangin, the district of southern Afghanistan where the Marine battalion is based, was a Taliban stronghold for years. It has one of the highest concentrations of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in the country. Robust Marine operations in the past year have weakened the insurgency in Sangin, and troops now seek to build up the authority of local government and community leaders.

But elusive fighters routinely strike with booby traps on trails and around patrol bases. Lt. Col. Thomas Savage, the battalion commander, said there was a rough average of five IED strikes, finds or interdictions a day in Sangin, in Helmand province. Estimates vary, but some Marines say roughly one in 10 IEDs hits a target.

Sixteen of the battalion’s Marines have died and at least 160 have been injured during a seven-month deployment that ends in October. Of those, about 90 were sent home because of the severity of their wounds, said Whitehead, the battalion surgeon. One lost both testicles, four Marines lost one testicle and two had penis injuries.

We’re sending “blast panties” or “ballistic boxers” to help, but that only helps to stop infection and decrease the damage of shrapnel.  It doesn’t save a Marine’s gonads.  Know what we’re also sending?  Robots.  That’s right, robots.

Listen.  I’m all for robots, and helicopters, and drones, and all manner of new-fangled gadgetry and high tech toys.  But we’ll win in the Helmand Province when we send Marines on distributed operations to sit in concealment and wait to find the IED emplacers, and we shoot them where they stand.  And we find the makers, and we take them out in their homes and in the roads.  We’ll find out who these bastards are when we enter their homes, and get in their faces – when we do census operations, when we press the villagers.  When it becomes too dangerous to emplace IEDs, the insurgents will stop doing it.  Governance and digging wells didn’t work in Iraq, and it won’t in Afghanistan.

And when we inform the Pakistanis that if they shoot at our troops chasing the Haqqani fightes in Pakistan we’ll turn the ground they are standing on into a sea of glass, then we’ll be on our way to ending the Haqqani threat, machines and ballistic underwear notwithstanding.

Return of the Marine Corps Red Cells

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 11 months ago

From Marine Corps Times:

Commandant Gen. Jim Amos is bringing back “red cell” groups, which he used while commanding Marines in Iraq, to study enemy tactics.

The groups formed of officers and staff noncommissioned officers were handpicked to analyze the enemy threat, including tactics, techniques and procedures on the front lines, and determine the necessary operations to defeat that threat.

Now, Amos hopes to bring the groups back for use in Afghanistan.

Amos’ cells in Iraq included an eclectic group of personnel with backgrounds in intelligence, information operations, logistics, ground combat and civil affairs. What Amos wanted from them, said a former cell leader, were frank assessments and open discussion that challenged conventional thinking. He ended each meeting by reminding his staff: “Let’s do it to them before they do it to us.”

A red cell “is a great way to insist you get a group of people looking at things differently than anyone else,” said retired Col. Gary I. Wilson, who coordinated Amos’ cell with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Al Asad Air Base in 2003 and 2004.

Amos’ operational principle was “don’t wait for something to happen, make it happen,” Wilson said.

When insurgents began to fire SA-16 anti-air missiles, Amos “immediately modified his tactics,” ordering more nighttime flights and adding survivable gear and equipment to helicopters, said Wilson, who later led one of Amos’ cells with II Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq.

But before we discuss Amos’ concept, there’s an important report from The New York Times:

QURGHAN TAPA, Afghanistan — The hill wasn’t much to behold, just a treeless mound of dirt barely 80 feet high. But for Taliban fighters, it was a favorite spot for launching rockets into Imam Sahib city. Ideal, American commanders figured, for the insurgents to disrupt the coming parliamentary elections.

So under a warm September sun, a dozen American infantrymen snaked their way toward the hill’s summit, intent on holding it until voting booths closed the next evening. At the top, soldiers settled into trenches near the rusted carcass of a Soviet troop carrier and prepared for a long day of watching tree lines.

Then, an explosion. “Man down!” someone shouted. From across the hill, they could hear the faint sound of moaning: one of the company’s two minesweepers lay crumpled on the ground. The soldiers of Third Platoon froze in place.

Toward the rear of the line, Capt. Adrian Bonenberger, the 33-year-old company commander, cursed to himself. During weeks of planning, he had tried to foresee every potential danger, from heat exposure to suicide bombers. Yet now Third Platoon was trapped among mines they apparently could not detect. A medical evacuation helicopter had to be called, the platoon moved to safety, the mission drastically altered. His mind raced.

“Did I do the right thing?” he would ask himself later.

Far from the generals in the Pentagon and Kabul, America’s front-line troops entrust their lives to junior officers like Captain Bonenberger. These officers, in their 20s and early 30s, do much more than lead soldiers into combat. They must be coaches and therapists one minute, diplomats and dignitaries the next. They are asked to comprehend the machinations of Afghan allies even as they parry the attacks of Taliban foes.

As commander of Alpha Company, First Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, Captain Bonenberger was in charge not just of ensuring the safety of 150 soldiers, but also of securing the district of Imam Sahib, a volatile mix of insurgent enclaves and peaceful farming villages along the Tajikistan border.

Analysis & Commentary

The good Captain is working so hard he is likely losing very badly needed sleep.  He has been given an impossible mission.  Population-centric counterinsurgency with too few troops, too little time, too few resources, a corrupt government, and an American electorate who doesn’t understand what pop-centric COIN is or why one would need to conduct such a thing.

But allow me a pedestrian observation, if you will?  The American electorate knows at least a moderate amount about life-s decisions, and they set policy.  The American Generals are waging pop-centric COIN, but America expects us to be killing the enemy.  We shouldn’t be engaged in nation-building, but killing the enemy is complex when they hide amongst the people, and when some of them are the people.

The trouble with Captain Bonenberger’s trek up the hill wasn’t that he didn’t do everything he should have.  True enough, mine sweepers can only do so much.  The olfactory senses of dogs has proven to be much more reliable and informative in IED detection, and the Captain’s team should have had several good ones.

For reports of IEDs and dogs, see:

Combined Strategies Help IED Fight

Bomb Dogs See Action in Afghanistan

Training Dogs to Sniff Out IEDs

Bombs Frustrate High Tech Solutions

Marines Plan to Deploy More Bomb Dogs

And many more reports.  Forget the high tech solutions.  Defer to the only ones to whom God has given this skill – dogs.

But there is a deeper point to be made here.  We are trying to hold terrain when we do a march up a hill to secure it from the enemy.  He has been there, he has laid his traps and weapons, and we cannot match his knowledge of the terrain.

This all reminds me of our attempts to make the electrical grid in Iraq robust enough to withstand attacks from Sadr’s militia.  There aren’t enough engineers in the world to do such a thing.  Sadr’s militia had to be killed (and still must be).

In the case of the Captain’s hill, it would have been better to have spent his time putting up gated communities, taking census of the population, kicking in doors at night, and finding and killing the enemy.  As it is, not only did the Captain lose men, but he failed in his mission to secure the terrain – at least, initially.  There would seem to be a better way.

Returning to General Amos’ red cells, understanding Taliban TTPs is a step in the right direction.  But during the brutality of war, brutality that affects not only men but equipment, dogs are better than electronic equipment, mules are better than robots for transporting supplies, the backs of Marines is better than trucks that break down over impossible terrain, and finding and killing the enemy is better than trying to anticipate his next move with a crystal ball, with all due respect to Sun Tzu.

Defeating IEDs in Afghanistan

BY Herschel Smith
5 years ago

This informative 60 Minutes video documentary on IEDs in Afghanistan is worthwhile viewing.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

But except for the increased sophistication of IEDs in Iraq as opposed to Afghanistan (or said another way, the more basic and simple IEDs in Afghanistan), this documentary could have been made in Iraq in 2005 – 2006 if urban terrain was substituted for rural.

Defeating IEDs will require force projection, chasing and killing the insurgents, and dismantling his networks.  No amount of technology will win the asymmetric fight against IEDs.  The fight against IEDs cannot be separated from the fight against the Taliban, as if enough technology will neutralize Taliban weapons while the Taliban are still active.

Battling IEDs in Afghanistan

BY Herschel Smith
5 years ago

The Marines are slogging through IED country in Southern Helmand.

This year has already become the deadliest for Western troops of the 8-year-old war, with more than 400 killed, more than in the entire period from 2001-2005. By far the deadliest weapon employed by the insurgents are homemade bombs.

The Marines, part of a force of 10,000 that Obama sent to Afghanistan earlier this year, pushed forward along a dirt road, sandwiched between two canals branching off the Helmand River and arrived at the village of Barcha to establish a base.

En route, about 24 bombs were intercepted by a team of engineers, ahead of a convoy of 25 armored vehicles and 80 men on foot, crawling at speeds averaging 200 meters (650 ft) an hour.

“It made (the Marines) move very slowly and methodically — it does nothing but slow down the operation,” said Captain Matt Martin, company commander for Golf company, one of four companies involved in the operation.

Step-by-step the team paced carefully, sweeping the dirt track with metal detectors for bombs, which they discovered in many sizes and forms.

Some were covered with pressure plates to trigger them with a wrong step; one contained 60 pounds (27 kg) of homemade ammonium oxide-based explosive bound with two mortars.

Every 45 minutes or so, a plume of dust puffed out onto the horizon, with a loud thud when the Marines fired rockets on the bombs to detonate them.

The quantity of bombs intercepted forced the convoy to stay overnight in their vehicles on the road after the first day.

By dawn the convoy started moving again in earnest as three more bombs were found and detonated. Then came the ambush — they were hit by insurgent gunfire in the late afternoon.

Marines are receiving advanced training on IEDs before deployment as reported by Tony Perry.  Battalions that go to the mountain warfare training center at Bridgeport, Calif., in the eastern Sierra are sent on a 68-mile overland convoy route to the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. Along the route are simulated bombs and Marines playing the part of insurgents, attacking from ambush and firing AK-47s.

 

But the enemy goal has been accomplished, i.e., to slow the advance of U.S. forces and restrict the boundaries within which they can move.  Representative Duncan Hunter is tired of excuses and wants more eyes on the roads.  So too does Doug Grindle in a comment at the Small Wars Journal Blog.  Robert Haddick weighs in saying:

Watching for bomb-planters, avoiding unwatched roads, using helicopters, dispersing into more vehicles, and taking alternate routes across country will all help with the IED problem. But the real solution lies with offensive action against the IED networks. This will require aggressive patrolling, raiding, and the interrogation of captured suspects, actions that hopefully are not yet out of fashion.

To which Doug responds:

Regarding your 5th BCT Strykers piece:
piffle.
Strykers are safer than humvees, the real alternative with limited MRAP resources, and hence not a mistake.
The reason the Strykers are getting blown up so spectacularly is because there is no regular route reconnaissance of MSRs, with sectors of the routes covered by dedicated units as was standard practice in Iraq. This is now changing slowly.
The idea that “aggressive patrolling, raiding, and the interrogation of captured suspects” is the solution is plain wrong. The best security comes from the locals themselves, specifically their cooperation with the security forces, and not from actions that will almost certainly alienate the locals from the COIN effort.

It’s simple.  Simple enough to call Robert’s counsel piffle.  Or maybe not.  Maybe there are those who know more about this issue than Doug.  The Marines still don’t have enough troops to cover the roads in Afghanistan.  Neither do the Stryker teams in Kandahar, especially if they are not conducting aggressive dismounted patrols, raiding and interrogating captured suspects.  And no, this approach is not unfashionable – or at least, it shouldn’t be.

All terrain MRAPs and additional advanced training will help.  But in the end the situation is tailor-made for guerrilla warfare.  We must man the campaign if it is to be successful.

As a (slight to moderate) change of the subject for movie aficionados, who has seen The Hurt Locker (a special feature for EOD techs)?  We need an educated reader to weigh in on this one since I haven’t seen it.

Taliban IEDs as TTPs

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 2 months ago

From The Washington Times:

The Taliban has been building simpler, cheaper anti-personnel bombs made of hard-to-detect nonmetal components, increasing the number of lethal attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan, according to a confidential military report.

The shift in the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) away from larger anti-armor bombs has allowed the Taliban to produce more weapons and hide them in more places as they strive to kill larger numbers of American forces in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province and other contested regions.

The change in production from metal-dominated explosives to devices made of plastic is making it more difficult for ground troops to detect the buried IEDs with portable mine-detectors, creating an “urgent need” inside the Pentagon for better detection devices, the report said.

The new Taliban tactics are disclosed in a confidential report from the Pentagon’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, portions of which were obtained by The Washington Times.

The area around Now Zad, northwest of Kandahar, has experienced some of the most ferocious fighting for control of southern Afghanistan since the surge of 21,000 U.S. troops began last spring. News reports and military bloggers say Marines on patrol face a constant threat from hidden IEDs.

“Although the Taliban still fights with small-arms, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices, they have increasingly focused the role of IEDs as antipersonnel devices,” the report said. “Smaller, lighter, more quickly constructed and quite often triggered by a victim-operated switch [booby trap], these antipersonnel IEDs have been a significant factor in labeling Now Zad the most dangerous location with the highest U.S. casualty rate in either the Afghan or Iraq theaters.”

The Aug. 11 report, titled, “The Taliban’s Emerging IED TTPs in the Proving Grounds of Now Zad, Helmand Province,” was written by an analyst at U.S. Central Command, which oversees troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan. TTPs is short for tactics, techniques and procedures …

In the past two months, more than half of the battlefield deaths suffered by NATO troops were caused by IEDs. This month, of 31 fatalities, 15 came from IEDs; in August, 46 of the 77 coalition deaths resulted from these devices, according to icasualties.org.

The Pentagon report said the Taliban IED research-and-development program used the Now Zad region to show that smaller, more numerous IEDs kill more people. The rate for dead and wounded for the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment stood at one-third of the unit in August, the report said. A typical Marine battalion has 800 to 1,000 troops.

A military official, who monitors Afghanistan and asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the Taliban is shifting to small IEDs for a number of reasons.

“You’ve got the fear factor,” the source said. “It’s also less costly. It’s easier for them to build those things and use them as opposed to running the risk of getting in firefights and losing people. The cost is relatively low. We’re fighting guys who from all appearances are from three centuries ago, but we can’t figure out how to beat them.”

The Pentagon report said the Taliban has become adept at mining a road called the “Pakistani Alley” — so-named because Taliban militants use it to ferry in new fighters from the neighboring country.

“U.S. troop movements are split between foot and mounted patrols,” the report said. “The terrain and deplorable road conditions often necessitate that foot patrols be conducted on uneven terrain. The Taliban have taken advantage of this by littering the area north of ‘Pakistani Alley’ with numerous antipersonnel IEDs to maintain control over their northern buffer-zone.”

Robert Maginnis, a military analyst and Army adviser, said IEDs are tailor-made for Afghanistan.

“IEDs are effective in Afghanistan in part because of the terrain,” Mr. Maginnis said. “There are few paved roads, which means planting a device in or near a road is easier and harder to detect by visual inspection. The increase in Taliban use of IEDs is due to the increased coalition forces in country, which forced the relatively small Taliban force to adjust its tactics. It stretches the force’s impact.”

Lt. Col. Edward Sholtis, a spokesman for Gen. Stanley McChrystral, the top commander in Afghanistan, told The Times the general has stepped up efforts to disrupt networks before they can plant bombs, and get better intelligence on where they are embedded in light of “the weapons’ increasing use against coalition forces and because of the impact of a larger number of indiscriminate, victim-operated IEDs on the Afghan people.”

I would like to get a copy of this report, but my web-based e-mail for the web site (contact information) isn’t currently working.  No one has covered Now Zad like I have, and that merits some consideration.  Either way, it’s good to get better intelligence, and the article ends with technological advancements that may help in the detection of IEDs of this kind, but these are only half-way measures.  As we discussed in On the Front Lines with the Marine in Helmand, there aren’t enough Marines in place to prevent Taliban brutality towards the Afghans who would otherwise want to cooperate.  Intelligence to shut down the traffickers in IEDs will only go so far.  Force Projection is necessary.

We must go after them where they live, where they traffic their supplies, and where they recruit and train.  We must shut down their logistics, kill their fighters, and cause them to live in fear.  We must cause them to stay on the run such that they have neither the time nor supplies to construct or emplace IEDs.  Only then will they be so preoccupied with staying alive that they forget the population.  Then we will have won.  IEDs will no longer be a problem because the Taliban aren’t a problem.  They go hand in hand, and one will not be defeated without the other.  We cannot first defeat IEDs and then the Taliban – just like it was in Iraq.

Insurgents Emplacing IED Blow Themselves Up

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 2 months ago

A group of insurgents emplacing a makeshift bomb in a dirt road in southern Afghanistan inadvertantly blow themselves up while U.S. Apaches from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade look on.


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